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Flat towing a Jeep

Discussion in 'Towing' started by WSO_Man, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. Jun 2, 2008 at 7:48 PM
    #1
    WSO_Man

    WSO_Man [OP] New Member

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    Folks,

    We're about to move again, and were thinking of flat towing the Jeep (03 Wrangler, stock except for 285's) behind the Taco. We'll be going from NC to ID, so it's going to be a long haul.

    It's an 07 with the towing package, and I've towed before, just not with this truck. I've read over the towing bible on here, and was curious to see if anybody else has done this. I've read about something called a Brake Buddy, mostly for RV's and such but for what one costs, I could be a long way into a good trailer with brakes.

    Other options are a dolly or car hauler from a u-haul type place. Any input you guys have is appreciated.
     
  2. Jun 2, 2008 at 10:01 PM
    #2
    Janster

    Janster Old & Forgetful

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    Lancaster, PA
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    I've never flat towed myself...but flat towing will help keep the weight down. The less weight the better - better for your transmission (so to speak).

    Do you have an automatic?

    I've towed a built jeep wranger (4500lbs) on an open deck car hauler (1200lbs) with a Jeep Grand Cherokee (4.7L V8) and a Dodge Ram (5.7L V8). But never a tacoma..(or never a V6 rig).

    I don't know from a safety and wear/tear issue on the tacoma - I'm not sure it'd be cheaper to have someone drive the jeep to your destination or rent a flatbed truck or something....??

    I'm not saying it can't be towed by the tacoma - I'm simply saying....it'll be hard on the truck and not to mention - controllability for the driver isn't no picnic either.
     
  3. Jun 3, 2008 at 7:02 AM
    #3
    Khaos

    Khaos Well-Known Member

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    Truck is rated for 6,500lbs. The Jeep weights 4,400lbs. That leaves you 2,100lbs for gear, people, and the trailer.

    I'm not sure if I'd do it for such a long drive though. I'd be willing to tow a Jeep (as might have to do when I buy one) anywhere as long as its in my state.
     
  4. Jun 3, 2008 at 7:36 PM
    #4
    maverick491

    maverick491 Towing Guru

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    Check the link below for the do's and don'ts of flat towing. That post was in reference to flat towing a tacoma behind a motorhome, but the principles remain the same.

    http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/towing/6977-towing-tacoma-behind-rv.html#post69698

    That said, it will much easier to flat tow the jeep provided that it is a stick. It is cost prohibitive to set an automatic up for flat towing unless you are going to use it a a dingy for a motorhome all the time.

    Just a quick recap of the items and prices of things involved in a SAFE flat tow. (for a stick only)

    Tow bars...... ($300-$500) depending on brand, and they will require permanant attachment to the vehicle being towed.

    Brake buddy for the Jeep.....($950)

    Magnetic lights for the vehicle being towed.....($33-$50)

    On the high side you are looking at $1500 to get everything you need to move a jeep once?. I'd personally look at renting a uhaul trailer, or something or even sticking the jeep in long term parking at the airport, and then flying in and driveing it back would likely be cheeper.

    Just my $0.02
     
  5. Jun 4, 2008 at 3:57 PM
    #5
    WSO_Man

    WSO_Man [OP] New Member

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    You make some valid points, and that's why we're thinking of this 3 months out. I limited the quote of your post to what I did because the jeep is an automatic, but the owners manual has a 2 page checklist for flat towing an auto, and doesn't list anything that would lead me to believe it's any more difficult than a stick.

    The main issues to me and correct me if I'm wrong, is the higher CG (center of gravity) for the u-haul and brakes for both setups.

    Flat towing solves (again, to me) most of the CG issues. The brakes can be mitigated with the brake buddy, but to your other point it is alot of $ for a one-way shot. More on this in a second.

    To your last point, the money is -somewhat- of a wash, as this wouldn't be the only time we'd think of doing this. We move every 3 years and the next one would be the same trip, only in reverse. I'd use the jeep to carry some weight which we get compensated for and could probably make back everything; especially after 2 moves.

    Lastly, we've considered professionally shipping the jeep and picking it up when we get to the destination. But no real benefit from that other than the convenience.

    Sorry for the long post, this is really something best talked about over a beer, but what can you do?
     
  6. Jun 4, 2008 at 8:37 PM
    #6
    maverick491

    maverick491 Towing Guru

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    Ok, a few small corrections.

    A uhaul trailer will have what are called surge brakes, and as such does not require you to purchase a brake controller, because the braking system for the trailer is completely self contained within the trailer. Second, a jeep on a 20 foot long trailer does not have a particularly high center of gravity, and with that much weight behind your Taco, you won't me cornering like a race car anyway, so a higher center of gravity should not be an issue.

    Flat towing an automatic that distance, without either an electric transmission fluid pump, drive-line disconnects, or removing the drive shaft is going to destroy your transmission. Here is an excerpt from the post I linked lastnight that explains the way an automatic transmission works and why they do not like to be flat towed without modifications.

    "Here's why. To over simplify an Automatic transmission, it works by using fluid pressure to open and close gates in the valve body which in turn controlls what gear you are in. Without the engine driven pump, you have to have some other additional pump taking over that job or else for all intents and purposes you'll be towing the vehicle in question in first gear, first gear plus 65-70 MPH equalls BAD. So you need the extra pump to provide pressure to allow the trans. to shift to the correct gear for the speed you are travelling and not grenade itself.

    The driveline disconnects solve the same problem by taking the transmission out of the equation by disconnecting the wheels from the drivetrain, thereby removing the need to have the transmission in the correct gear. Fundamental problem with the disconnects is that if it's raining or dark out when you get where you are going you still have to crawl under the truck to re-connect everything, if you want to use the TOAD (RV speak for towed vehicle) to go somewhere. ALSO for anyone thinking about doing this who intends to off-road the TOAD. The driveline disconnects are fine for normal everyday type of driving, but are somewhat weaker than the solid pieces that they replace, so any rock crawling or off camber situations can put enough stress on them to break them."


    My vote is still for a uhaul trailer. Considerably less than half the cost of the equipment involved in a flat tow, no damage or modification to the vehicle being towed, and it's plug and play simple. Check with your closest Camping World for information on what's involved in setting an automatic transmission 4 wheel drive vehicle up to be towed 4 wheels down. They do it everyday. They'll tell you it's pretty involved, and expensive. Good luck with whatever route you choose to take with this.


     
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